A reader asks:
Can a person really live on only a vegan diet? Are there Theosophists who are true vegans? If so, what supplements, if any, do they take? Are eggs acceptable from a Theosophic standpoint if they are unfertilized and not from chickens that have been tortured? Are there any dairy products that can be obtained from sources where the cruelty normally inflicted upon the animals in commercial dairy situations is absent?
I do know people who live on a vegan diet. I’m not sure what supplements they take. There are foods these days that have added vitamin B12 for instance, so one doesn’t have to resort to pills.
Not all theosophists are vegans or even vegetarians. I am a vegetarian:
I do eat eggs and consume milk products. I occasionally take vitamin b and omega 3 pills. See my page on Vegetarian Health Tips for details of what’s healthy and what isn’t.
Personally I feel that there is something to be said for a diet that doesn’t lead to too much estrangement. In other words: I don’t think my social life could handle it if I were to become a vegan. My mom is put to enough difficulties cooking for vegetarians – forcing her to avoid eggs and dairy in what she cooks for us when we visit is really too much.
For me this isn’t about perfection. I don’t think we can avoid all the cruelties our society produces. Minimizing contributing to them is the highest I personally aspire to.
Your question about eggs is pertinent from an Indian standpoint: Brahmins traditionally don’t consume eggs, because of the chances of eggs being fertilized. With chickens being bred away from roosters, this is one issue one doesn’t have to worry about with most eggs. Paradoxically, it is relevant in case of free range chickens in some cases.
One way to get dairy products that are animal cruelty free is to get them straight from the organic farmer. Those do exist. Depending on where you live you might even be able to get them from the store. If you can’t, it won’t hurt to ask your local store manager if you could get those kinds of products. That might bring a change. It’s up to each of us to choose to be an activist on specific issues or not.